As a young girl, I, like many other young girls, was infatuated with horses. Every birthday, and every Christmas, I asked for the Breyer collectable horses. That was, until my 11th birthday when I asked for my first real horse. I received that horse, which significantly directed me, in my late teens, to seek a career as a groom for racehorses at the local California racetrack. Horses still play an important and constant role in my life.
When reading the scriptures, I always note the places horses are mentioned. A search of the word “horse” brings up 187 references. When searching the plural form “horses,” there are 108 references. Compare this to the “dog,” which brings 40, or the plural “dogs,” bringing a mere 25. Many of those are not referring to actual dogs either, but rather metaphors comparing people to canines. Other animal searches show the following numbers: oxen: 41; bull: 151; bulls: 55; heifer: 16; goats: 77; and a search for “sheep” surpasses the horse by only 3 references.
This leads me to the conclusion that the horse is a significant animal to God. They are magnificent creatures. Artists often depict them in full body armor looking courageous and valiant, with flared nostrils and an arched neck.
Even if you are not particularly fond of horses, I hope you’ll stay with me. Our God has chosen the horse for very specific tasks. Horses were used in battles; they were a sign of strength. The more horses, horsemen, and chariots, the stronger the army. The book of Job describes the warhorse:
“Have you given the horse might? Have you clothed his neck with a quivering mane? 20Have you made him to leap as a locust? The glory of his snorting is awesome […] 25He eats up the ground with fierceness and rage, nor does he stand still at the sound of the shofar….Job 39:19-20, 25
References of King Solomon having many horses and chariots can be found in I Kings 4:26, 1 Kings 10:26, and 1 Kings 10:29.
After the Lamb opens one of the seven seals, we see a rider on a white horse going out to conquer. In Revelation 6:2, a rider on a red horse goes out, who is given power to take peace from earth so that they slay one another; in Revelation 6:4, in Revelation 6:5, a rider on a black horse with scales to cause famine, and a rider on a pale horse representing death and the grave.
We can conclude that where the horse is depicted in God’s Word, there is a sense of power, whether used for good or evil.
It is necessary to recall the Four Gospels record of Jesus riding on the colt of a donkey, fulfilling the prophecy spoken of through the prophet Zechariah:
“Look! your King comes to you, meek, and riding on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”Zechariah 9:9
In this record, “meek” and “humble” is how the King is portrayed. Yet a study of ancient times reveals that only conquering Kings would ride through this gate of Israel. All others would dismount and walk through. This was a subtle way Jesus portrayed his Kingship, one that would not be missed by the scribes and Pharisees.
Compare that record to Revelation 19:
And I saw the heavens opened, and Look!, a white horse, and he who was sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war […] 18and He has on his garment and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.Revelation 19:11, 18
Further examination of this record reveals his armies following after him, also riding on white horses.
In contrast, let’s look at the record in 1 Thessalonians 4:
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of a ruling-angel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds, for a meeting with the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
This is a very distinct and different gathering. There are no horses in this record, no war cry, no blood. There is a loud commanding voice, and a trumpet which calls us to go up. Here there will be unspeakable joy, and a holy reverence as we see our Lord in his glorious body.
I would like to think that it will be at this meeting, that those who have never been close to the magnificent creation of God called the horse will be introduced, taught to ride, and prepared for the future battle we will participate in with the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS! I can hardly wait!!